Harry Potter returns to LEGO with Hogwarts set remake

first_imgStory TimelineLEGO Ship in a Bottle is a minimalistic masterpieceA giant LEGO brick just appeared in ManhattanLEGO Solo movie Millennium Falcon set is a shocker This Great Hall set was announced as coming to stores on August 1st, 2018. It’ll cost around $100 USD, and it’ll contain 878 pieces total. The LEGO set number for this monsterpiece is 75954, and you’re gonna want to jump on it quick if you want to own it. Not that it’ll be rare, but it’ll certainly be popular. The Hogwarts Great Hall LEGO set’s announcement showed the set to contain 10 minifigures – all the figures you see in the images above and//or below. That’s Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Susan Bones, McGonagall, and Quirrel (with secret Voldemort face). The set also contains Nearly Headless Nick, Dumbledore, Hedwig (the owl), and Scabbers (the rat), and a couple buildable figures: the Basilisk and Fawkes.Accessories include: 7 wands, 3 tumblers, umbrella, lantern, broom, sorting hat, cauldrons, potions, candles, 2 wizard brooms, food, trophy, teapot, chest and a spider. There’ll be a far bigger spider if LEGO decides to remake the other Harry Potter sets that came in the early 2000s, too – think ARAGOG.“The 4-level tower features movable Grand Staircase spiral steps at its base, potions room, treasure room with chest and a turret featuring the Mirror of Erised with changeable pictures and roosting spot for Fawkes”AdChoices广告This set has four levels – in its tower – including a moveable Grand Staircase. There’s a tiny treasure room, a tiny potions room, and a turret with the Mirror of Erised embedded within. Basically this has everything you’ll want to build out to a much, much larger castle. Time to start collecting tan pieces.center_img Today we’ve got a sneak peek of the first in what we hope is a long line of Wizarding World of Harry Potter LEGO sets through the next few years. This is Hogwarts, a set that’s sort of a remake of a set released by LEGO a few years ago. Back when the “Hogwarts Castle” set was made, they went for the full deal, mashing the entire castle into 1290 pieces. This time they’ve begun creating the castle piece by piece, starting with the Great Hall in 878 pieces. last_img read more

Lenovo Smart Display Review Show Tell for the Google Assistant

first_imgHardware and SetupLenovo has two versions of the Smart Display, one with an 8-inch 1280 x 800 HD screen for $199, and another with a 1920 x 1200 Full HD screen, for $249. Each has an asymmetric design, with a triangular integrated stand that doubles as the speaker enclosure, and which tapers down into the touchscreen. Cleverly, it’s designed to stand the 10-inch Smart Display up in portrait mode as well as landscape, though that’s only really of use when you’re making video calls. On the smaller model, the back panel is soft-touch grey plastic; the larger gets a handsome bamboo inlay. Either way, there are dual array microphones so that you can be heard from across the room, and 10W speakers with passive tweeters for audio. A 5-megapixel wide-angle camera is built-in, with a physical camera shutter that can slide across it for privacy. There’s also a microphone mute button, to stop the Google Assistant from listening, and a volume key. Lenovo Smart Display Gallery Inside, Lenovo has used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 624-based Home Hub Platform, with 2GB of memory and 4GB of storage. There’s WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 BLE, and the whole thing runs Android Things. To be honest, though, you never really see any of those mechanics, since the Google Assistant is running the show. Despite the touchscreen, setup is all through the Google Home smartphone app for Android or iOS. As soon as I opened it, it recognized that there was a new Smart Display nearby. Since I’d already set up a Google Home before, it could supply the Smart Display with my Nest, Hue, Spotify, and other accounts. Otherwise you’d have to first search for them, and grant Google permission to access them. AdChoices广告The other configuration copied across was my Voice Match training. You can train the Google Assistant to distinguish between different people, so that if I ask for what’s on my agenda today I’ll get information from my own calendar, not somebody else’s. That’s the theory, at least. Unfortunately, the Assistant still can’t work with Google G Suite accounts – ironic, since Amazon’s Alexa has no such problems – so I can’t get my work calendar or other details from it. Ambient ModeMost of the time, the Smart Display runs through a screensaver called Ambient Display. You can have a full-screen clock, set a Google Photos, Flickr, or Facebook photos folder to cycle through, or pick from Google’s curated galleries of street art, satellite photography, and more. It looks great on Lenovo’s bright, colorful panel, and a text legend for each shot tells you what exactly you’re looking at. Like an Echo Show, you can choose to have the current weather shown, too. It’d be nice if you could change the graphics size for that and the clock, mind: if you have Ambient Mode set to a photo slideshow, the time and forecast take up a tiny spot in the lower left corner. It can be tricky to read from across the room. Google Home, but with a screenIf you’ve used Google’s smart speaker, you’ll know the sort of things the Google Assistant can do. By saying “Hey Google” you can search for trivia, get weather reports, ask for news briefings, set alarms and timers, and add items to shopping lists. Voice is still the primary control method, but the screen does add a new dimension to it. As you ask something, you see what the Assistant is hearing in text across the top of the screen, along with your user icon if your voice has been recognized. Assistant answers get background graphics – ask about a capital city and you’ll get a photo from that location, for instance – while weather forecasts use full-screen graphs. There are also manual controls: you can check off items on your to-do list, or skip through news briefings using the touchscreen. Running along the bottom of the screen are follow-up questions, prompted by what the Assistant predicts you might be curious about next. Ask for the time in another city, for instance, and you’ll probably get prompts for further locations shown. You can tap them, or ask for them, but you’ll need to say “Hey Google” again as the Smart Display doesn’t support Continued Conversations yet. On a Google Home you can – optionally – have the microphone stay enabled for follow-up queries, but it’s not available on third-party hardware yet. The Smart Display’s screen really comes into its own with maps and locations. Ask the Assistant to find stores or other points of interest, and you can see the results in a carousel, complete with their location on a map and their star ratings. You can see navigation instructions too – you set your location when you first configure the Smart Display – and have the Assistant send directions to your phone, which is very useful. MultimediaProbably the most common use for a smart speaker is music playback, and there the Lenovo Smart Display gets off to a great start. As I’d already set up my Spotify account, not only could I ask for specific artists, albums, and genres by voice, but the Smart Display’s home screen showed my frequently-accessed playlists, too. Alternatively, you can ask for something like “smooth jazz” or “energizing music” and the Assistant will pick a suitable playlist.You’ll be listening to it on the Smart Display alone, though. Where Alexa has integration with Sonos speakers, the Smart Display isn’t so cooperative (though Sonos insists Google Assistant support is coming to select models from its range later in the year). Of course, with the display you can also load up photos and videos. If you’ve given the Assistant permission to dig through your Google Photos archive, it’ll surface shots from there; that includes pictures that are location tagged, face matched, or which you’ve otherwise labeled. If you haven’t, you get photos from a Google Image Search. Asking the Assistant to “search” for something goes hunting among generic images online; asking “show me” something defaults to your personal photos.You can get impressively granular with your queries, too. “Hey Google, search for photos of black kittens in wicker baskets” brought up a carousel of adorable cats matching that description. You can tap through to see more info about that image, and then tap again to see the original webpage or video. There’s no way to save a photo to the Smart Display, but you can ask to have the link shared with your phone. As you’d expect, the Smart Display handles YouTube videos well. You can search for general topics or something more specific, with the results shown on a side-scrolling carousel that you navigate either with your finger or by saying “Hey Google, show me more.” You select by tapping, or asking for a specific result, and you can also control play/pause and previous/next by voice or via the touchscreen. Unfortunately the Smart Display isn’t much use outside of YouTube’s walled garden. Even though I have my Netflix account linked to my Google account, for example, you can’t play Netflix shows on the Lenovo’s screen. Eventually you’ll be able to cast content directly to the Smart Display from your phone, too, Lenovo tells me, but though it shows up in compatible Android and iOS devices today it doesn’t actually work yet. A Smart Home controllerJust as you can control your linked lights, thermostat, and other connected home devices from a Google Home, so you can from the Smart Display. Again, the touchscreen makes more granular control possible, though there are still some places where I’m not sure it’s being used to its maximum potential. There’s some homework to be done first, if you haven’t already grouped your various smart lights, cameras, and other devices into the rooms they’re installed in. Depending on what name they’ve been assigned, you might want to rename them to something more user-friendly, too. From that point you can ask for lamps and other items by name – “Hey Google, turn on Hue lamp 3” for instance, or “Hey Google, adjust the family room thermostat to 68 degrees” – or issue commands to whole rooms. “Hey Google, turn the media room lights on” will switch on all the connected bulbs assigned to that one location. Depending on the device, you get relevant on-screen graphics, too: a scroll bar to adjust brightness or temperature, for example. Color-changing bulbs can be adjusted through that on-screen interface – there’s a long list of different shades, though not a specific color-picker – but you can’t ask for a particularly color by voice. You can request a live video stream from supported security cameras, like a Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, though not look back through any clips it may have recorded. My frustration is that it all depends on you knowing which devices you want to control. I’d like to be able to say “Hey Google, show me the status of all my lights” or “Show me my smart home dashboard” and see a snapshot of the current condition of every gadget, but that’s not supported. There’s certainly enough space on the touchscreen for something like that, so here’s hoping Google adds in such a feature. What you can do, though, is establish Routines: macros of multiple things that are triggered with a single command. There are a few preconfigured Routines out of the box, but the concept is straightforward. When the Assistant hears a trigger word or phrase – “Goodnight,” or “Bedtime,” for example – it will run through a list of commands. A “Goodnight” Routine when triggered, for instance, could first ask if you want to set an alarm for the morning, then turn off all of the lights bar the lamp on your nightstand, adjust the thermostat to a lower temperature, and start playing sleep sounds. Video callsLike an Echo Show or Echo Spot, the Lenovo Smart Display can make video calls. Google uses its own Duo service, which has apps available for iOS and Android. You link your existing number to your Duo account, and make both full video and audio-only calls.The Smart Display supports both incoming and outgoing chats. As long as it has access to your contacts, you can say “Hey Google, call…” and the contact’s name, and it’ll offer you the option of a video call or an audio call. The hardest part is getting your friends and family to actually use Duo.It took a little setting up to get going, mind. As I already had the Duo app on my iPhone, registered to my number, initially the Smart Display wouldn’t allow me to make calls through it. Things aren’t helped by having to jump between the Assistant and Home apps on iOS to navigate different settings pages; it’s fairly convoluted. Eventually, though, Duo calls come in on both my phone and the Smart Display, though at times I’d answer on the Lenovo but the call wouldn’t connect.VerdictCompared to the retro lines of the Amazon Echo Show, the Lenovo Smart Display looks properly futuristic. The 10-inch screen is high quality and the speakers surprisingly capable, while Google’s Assistant is accurate and useful. The card-based interface familiar from smartphones translates well to the Smart Display’s bigger interface.There’s still plenty of room for improvement, mind, often in how much use of the display is actually made. The Assistant’s comprehensive smart home integrations don’t take full advantage of the touchscreen real-estate, and I don’t see why I can’t watch third-party video streaming services, like Netflix, on the Smart Display either. More frustrating is the fact that I still can’t use a G Suite account, and that features like Continued Conversations aren’t supported as they would be on Google’s own hardware. Side by side with an Echo Show, I much prefer Google’s UI. Alexa has a longer list of third-party integrations, though; as always, if you’re trying to decide on your first smart speaker, it’s worth comparing the list of Assistant and Alexa skills to figure out which best overlaps with other gadgets you already have. Whichever you choose, neither will give quite the level of control that a native app does.As with the Echo Show, the usefulness of the Smart Display – and indeed the usefulness of any Assistant powered device with a touchscreen – will hinge on how well third-party services tap into it. If you’re a Google Home user I’d say the Lenovo Smart Display is definitely worth considering for the extra functionality it adds, though the price delta between it and a Google Home Mini still makes voice-only the best starting point for most.center_img Lenovo’s Smart Display brings show & tell to the Google Assistant, adding a touchscreen to the smart speaker and taking on Amazon’s Echo Show in the process. First of a series of display-enabled Assistant devices to make it to shelves, Lenovo’s gadget aims to win a spot on your kitchen counter or your nightstand with both voice and touch control, as well as the promise of better integration with your smartphone than Alexa can provide. last_img read more

Android Auto pixelated graphics bug will get official fix in June

first_imgLast year, Android Auto users began reporting an issue involving pixelated or otherwise disrupted graphics that, in some cases, resemble the artifacts present in a highly compressed JPEG. Dozens of bug reports and user posts rolled in, but the issue has persisted for months with little commentary from Google. That changed over the weekend when the company announced that an official fix will be launched in June. Users report seeing the pixelated graphics either persistently or only occasionally; some have identified workarounds that temporarily eliminate the issue, though it reappears the next time the platform is used. For some users, Android Auto’s interface appears normal at first, but becomes pixelated several minutes or more after use. Android Auto user Dharmin Doshi shared the image below on Google’s Product Forums. According to the user, the pixelated graphics appeared following the update released in December:On April 8, Lawrence with the Android Auto team posted an update in the Google Product Forums, stating that the issue is originating from the chipset firmware rather than the Android Auto app. That’ll cause a small delay in releasing the software update to fix it, which means users will have to deal with the problem until this June. AdChoices广告The fix will be available by the end of the month as part of the next Google Play Services release.SOURCE: Google Product Forumslast_img read more

Watch Japans asteroid bomb fall and impact video

first_imgFirst have a peek at this massive map made by Phil Stooke from the University of Western Ontario. He’s taken image data and coordinates and made a full map of the asteroid. Stooke marked the various points of contact JAXA’s made and showed how far from the bounce point the group dropped their bomb.On April 24th, Shift 1 for the Crater Search Operation (Post-SCI) (CRA2) began at 14:30 JST. On April 25 at 10:45 JST, the spacecraft dropped down to 2000m above the surface of the asteroid. This was the search for the crater created by the bomb, marked “CRA2 operation observation area” on the map below.AdChoices广告At its lowest, the CRA2 mission got down to 1.6 – 1.7 km altitude above the surface of the asteroid. At this point, images of the newly created crater were captured. These can be seen at the tail end of the video you’ll see just below this paragraph. Today we’ve compiled photos, videos, and data from the Japanese asteroid mission on Asteroid 162173 Ryugu. Most exciting is the BOMB the group dropped on the asteroid – and the explosive results. But we’ve also gathered images to make video of the group’s lander bouncing off the space body’s surface! It’s not every day you see video captured by a craft bouncing off the surface of an asteroid careening through space! This is part of the Hayabusa2 mission collective which shows all media collected by the Hayabusa2 craft. This craft was launched approximately 1608 days ago, and has traveled 3883470×10(to the 3rd) km (and counting.) The craft is currently approximately 294426.78×10(to the 3rd) km away from Earth as this article is scheduled to go live. Story TimelineJapan’s Hayabusa 2 takes off to blow a hole on an asteroidHayabusa2 MINERVA-II1 hopping rovers send back asteroid picsHayabusa 2 sends back highest resolution images of Ryugu yetJAXA shares video of Hayabusa2’s Ryugu landingWhile Japan’s bombing one asteroid, NASA’s bouncing off another Imagery and video in this article were gathered from several sources. The stabilized land/bounce video originates at The Planetary Society from Jacint Roger Perez. For more information on this mission, head down to our short timeline of links below. This mission’s far from over!last_img read more

Ford shutters its Chariot shuttle bus service

first_img“In today’s mobility landscape, the wants and needs of customers and cities are changing rapidly. As those changes continue, it has become clear that the mobility services delivered by Chariot over the past five years will not be a sustainable solution going forward. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause Chariot’s riders and our enterprise customers. We are committed to ensuring our customers are aware of the decision and have time to make alternative transportation arrangements.” Along with San Francisco, Chariot services were available in cities including Austin, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. The company’s fate follows that of Bridj, an on-demand shuttle service owned by Ford that operated in Boston and Kansas City. It also allowed users to request rides and schedule pick-up locations via app, often serving neighborhoods with poor coverage from existing public transportation, but was shut down in 2017. Chariot began operation back in 2014. Limited to San Francisco, the service charged users $4 a trip, and they could use a mobile app to schedule a ride. Bus routes were based on a combination of algorithms and rider demand in an effort to provide a cheaper, yet still useful, alternative to Uber and Lyft. Ford then acquired the startup in 2016, and expanded it to other cities.Chariot will officially end its operations on February 1st, according to the San Francisco Examiner. In a statement from CEO Dan Grossman, the company explains that the last five years have not shown sustainable growth in business, and apologizes to customers for any inconvenience. Story TimelineFord challenges Uber in Kansas City with on-demand bus serviceFord acquires Chariot as part of smart city transportation plansFord Chariot commuter shuttle service temporarily suspended in San Francisco The last few years saw Ford invest heavily in its Smart Mobility initiative, an effort by the carmaker to meet the transportation needs of customers, especially in larger cities, and be competitive with ride-hailing service like Uber and Lyft. One of its acquisitions in this business was Chariot, an on-demand shuttle bus service that operated in a handful of cities across the US. Ford has now announced that it’s shutting down Chariot due to poor sustainability.last_img read more

Nissan Altimate AWD has massively flared fenders over tanklike tracks

first_imgThe vehicle is based on the production 2019 Altima all-wheel-drive sedan. Nissan notes that in Canada AWD is standard on the 2019 Altima. Nissan says that this is the first sedan in North America to offer all-wheel drive. Subaru has offered its all-wheel-drive Impreza and Legacy sedans in North America for many years now. Nissan says that the Altima-te AWD can conquer the harshest of winter weather thanks to its treads. The Altima-te comes on the heels of the Rogue Warrior that was introduced in Montreal in 2016. The total body width of the car is 14-inches wider than normal. The tracks are manufactured by Dominator and the widebody kit used on the car is bespoke. Nissan used high-density foam and epoxy resin construction for the fenders, the same materials are used in boats. The bodywork took 150 hours alone, the total Altima-te project took 250 hours to complete. Nissan says that the car is 3-inches higher than normal. The tracks used on the Altima are 48-inches long, 30-inches tall, and 15-inches wide. Nissan notes that creating the Altima-te required more exterior modification than the Rogue Warrior required. The front and rear fenders are flared out 7-inches on each side for the tracks to fit. AdChoices广告center_img Nissan has announced a new member of the “warrior” family of vehicles that replaces wheels for tank-like treads to get around in the snow and on just about any other surface. The new ride is called the Altima-te AWD, and it will make the rounds at Canadian auto shows starting with its debut in Montreal. The most noticeable feature of the car is the massively flared fenders that are 7-inches wide in the front and rear to cover the treads. last_img read more

Health Reporter Sets Up Crowdsourcing Site For Medical Care

first_img NPR: Vitamin D Tests Aren’t Needed For Everyone, Federal Panel Says Should you get a blood test to see if you’re deficient in vitamin D? It sounds like such a good idea, seeing as how most people don’t get enough sunshine to make vitamin D themselves. And the tests are becoming increasingly popular. But there are problems with making vitamin D tests a standard part of preventive medicine, a federal panel said. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said Monday there’s not enough evidence of benefits or harms to recommend vitamin D testing for all. (Shute, 11/24) Trying to shop around for the best deal on health care services can be maddening. So Lisa Aliferis, a health care reporter for KQED News in San Francisco, came up with a simple idea: ask people what charges they’re actually seeing on their bills and try to make sense of the madness. … insurers and patients rarely pay the listed price. Aliferis — in a partnership with KPCC, a public radio station in Los Angeles, and Clearhealthcosts.com, a health transparency startup — tried to capture information of actual prices that people, who reported the information anonymously, were seeing on their medical bills — breaking down what the insurers were charged and what people actually paid. She found big price differences within the same state, based on facility and insurance status. (Millman, 11/24) Health Reporter Sets Up Crowdsourcing Site For Medical Care KQED’s Lisa Aliferis finds price differences within the same state, based on facility and insurance status. In other consumer news, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says that Vitamin D tests may not be necessary, even though they are growing in popularity.center_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The Washington Post: One Reporter Is Crowdsourcing The Price Of Health Care last_img read more

Steel tariff dispute between US and Canada Mexico could get resolved as

first_img What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Reddit ← Previous Next → Email 5 Comments More Recommended For YouU.S. FDA approves Karyopharm Therapeutics’ blood cancer drugOntario Cannabis Store pulls affected CannTrust products amid Health Canada probeUPDATE 2-FDA approves expanded label for Regeneron/Sanofi’s DupixentTrump pick for Fed seat says doesn’t want to pull rug from under market -CNBCAP Explains: US sanctions on Huawei bite, but who gets hurt? Facebook Sponsored By: Reuters Share this storySteel tariff dispute between U.S. and Canada, Mexico could get resolved as early as today, official says Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn center_img Steel tariff dispute between U.S. and Canada, Mexico could get resolved as early as today, official says Lighthizer will make proposal during meeting with Foreign Minister Freeland Twitter May 15, 201911:58 AM EDT Filed under News Economy Join the conversation → WASHINGTON — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday said the United States is close to resolving steel and aluminum tariffs with Canada and Mexico, the Wall Street Journal reported.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who is scheduled to meet with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, will propose a process for removing steel and aluminum tariffs, CNBC reported separately citing an unnamed senior official.© Thomson Reuters 2019Related Stories:Europe should brace for U.S. tariffs on several fronts -German officialUnited States adds India to steel tariff dispute at WTOU.S. steel tariffs on Mexico do not put USMCA ratification in danger – Mexican official advertisement Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland arrives at the office of the U.S. trade Representative in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images Featured Stories Commentlast_img read more

Canada Goose to open new factory in Quebec as profit beats expectations

first_img Facebook Canada Goose to open new factory in Quebec as profit beats expectations 650 new jobs by the end of 2020 The Canadian Press ← Previous Next → Comment advertisement Sponsored By: Share this storyCanada Goose to open new factory in Quebec as profit beats expectations Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Employees work on Canada Goose jackets at the factory in Toronto. The parka maker is opening a new factory in Quebec.Canadian Press Reddit February 14, 20197:18 AM ESTLast UpdatedFebruary 14, 20197:28 AM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing center_img Email What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation MONTREAL — Canada Goose Holdings Inc. says it will open a new factory in Quebec, its second in the province.The production facility will be located in Montreal and is expected to employ more than 100 people by the end of March, and grow to 650 new positions at full capacity by the end of 2020.The announcement came as the luxury parka maker reported a profit of $103.4 million or 93 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from a profit of $63 million or 56 cents per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier.Revenue in what was the company’s third quarter totalled $399.3 million, up from $265.9 million.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 81 cents per share for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Canada Goose also raised its guidance for revenue and profit for its 2019 financial year.It now expects revenue growth in the mid-to-high 30s on a percentage basis, compared with earlier expectations for at least 30 per cent.Annual growth in adjusted net income per diluted share is also now expected to grow in the mid-to-high 40s on a percentage basis, compared with earlier expectations for at least 40 per cent. Join the conversation → Twitter Featured Stories Recommended For You’We were experiencing headwinds’ — Canopy Growth stock heads south on poor sales ramp-upDefining the future of Canadian competitiveness: How partnerships between industry and educational institutions can help lead the way forwardTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016 1 Comments Morelast_img read more

Nordson Sealant Equipment improves battery production at every stage

first_imgSponsored by Nordson Sealant EquipmentCustomers rely on Nordson Sealant Equipment to deliver improvements, efficiencies, and solutions for a wide range of dispensing applications in their battery manufacturing processes. Nordson Sealant Equipment provides an industry-leading, field-proven range of automated dispensing solutions for one- and two-part materials used in battery cell bonding, battery cell power distribution, and battery pack assembly. Battery Cell Bonding Battery cells are manufactured in many sizes to fit the end product, the most common shapes being cylindrical and rectangular. While the use of either shape is dependent on the battery pack design, securing the cells into their larger battery modules takes different dispensing approaches and comes with common challenges.Cylindrical battery cells are often challenged by production speed and location accuracy; Nordson’s application and material knowledge, coupled with extensive robotic automation experience, allows it to design engineered solutions that provide the correct number of dispense heads at the flow rate and robotic speed necessary for the application needs.Square battery cells often experience air becoming wrapped around battery cells during a fill or pour. Nordson’s programmable dispense speeds allow for mid-shot adjustments in material flow rate, which allow air to escape from the fill. Speed can be adjusted back to full speed once the material is past the point of concern, allowing necessary production speeds to be achieved.Battery Cell Power DistributionNordson specializes in bonding thermal interface materials between the current circuit and the battery cell module. Applying the exact bead size can be challenging; for long bead requirements of various patterns, the length may exceed the volume of the meter and require reload, resulting in a gap or overlap in the bead. Nordson uses continuous flow meters and can also optimally size the meter to ensure reloads are not necessary before the end of the bead. Intricate bead paths can result in sharp turns where the robot slows down, causing the meter to deposit too much material. Nordson’s servo-driven meters have an auto-flow mode where the flow rate can be adjusted at the same time as the robot, allowing for even material placement along the battery cell or module.Battery Pack Assembly Ensuring a battery cell module provides enough power with the correct form and fit for the end product is no simple task. Typically, numerous modules are placed together to create a larger assembly of modules, also known as a pack. The shape of these packs varies greatly depending on the vehicle or the storage battery’s overall shape and are usually bonded together to reduce vibration problems or sealed to prevent corrosion issues due to moisture.Battery packs are bonded in one of two ways: bead bonding utilizes robotics to apply a precise amount of material to the face of each module; flood methodology simplifies robotic needs by applying material to the base of the entire battery pack to bond each module in place. A large meter needs to be mounted to the robot for both methods. Nordson’s range of continuous flow meters can be used for dispense of one- or two-component epoxies.Battery modules are sealed with a bead that encapsulates the battery pack module or by a bead placed between a top and bottom cell module. Both sealing methods require accurate bead placement to ensure assembly compression does not overflow into battery cells or outside of the pack. Nordson’s variety of nozzles are specifically designed for precision application in difficult-to-access channels or locations. Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine Industry partnershipsNordson Sealant Equipment works alongside adhesive manufacturers and automation/robot suppliers to ensure our solution is uniquely engineered to the customer’s application. Our volume displacement rod metering technology permits dispensing thermal gels, or other heavily filled materials, without packing out or wearing the equipment over time. Additionally, a wide range of wetted components and seal offerings allows our dispense equipment to be compatible with battery assembly materials across the globe, with many material suppliers incorporating our technology in their own test laboratories.As the global leaders in metering, mixing, and dispensing solutions for battery cell manufacturing applications, Nordson encourages early involvement in projects.Please reach out to Nordson’s team of experts to improve your production capabilities and performance.center_img Sponsored by Nordson Sealant Equipmentlast_img read more

MA Round Up AKK VE Find Plenty of Deal Work

first_imgThe week after Labor Day signified the return to work for a lot of Texas deal lawyers, despite the residual damage in Houston from Hurricane Harvey. Herewith are some highlights of recent deals that portend a busy fall, at least in the energy sector . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Username Remember me Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.center_img Lost your password? Passwordlast_img

Lawyer Discipline State Bar of Texas

first_img Lost your password? Password The State Bar of Texas has announced its most recent disciplinary actions. According to the state bar, five judges were disciplined, including one judicial suspension. In addition, seven Texas lawyers were suspended and two more received public reprimands . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Remember mecenter_img Username Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.last_img

Ageism and Oprah Winfrey

first_imgby, Ronni Bennett, ChangingAging ContributorTweetShareShareEmail0 Sharescategory_bug_ageism.gif Clearly, I have not been paying attention. I had thought Oprah Winfrey made a big deal a few years ago about retiring from television. I was greatly relieved then because throughout the 25 or 30 years of her TV show, Oprah spent countless hours foisting useless anti-aging remedies on her viewers.I assumed all that was finally finished until a couple of weeks ago when I began seeing promos for Oprah. It took me awhile to figure out that she’s got another network now and is doing it all over again.I had been making notes for an update to past posts here about her decades of extolling the virtues of eternal youth at any cost but I then ran across a post I could have written word-for-word. Kavan Peterson, a friend who is the editor at geriatrician Bill Thomas’s website, ChangingAging, beat me to it:”Let’s leave aside the fact that Oprah is arguably one of the most powerful promoters of anti-aging products in the industry,” writes Kavan.“Let’s forget about the dozens of episodes of her talk show focused on extreme and even dangerous anti-aging quackery, featuring anti-aging wingnuts like Suzanne Somers. And let’s not even mention the anti-aging guru she created, Dr. Oz.”Took the words right out of my mouth, Kavan. He was reacting to this recent video from Oprah in which she tries to pivot toward embracing aging:  But as Kavan points out, Winfrey does not have the slightest clue that the word “still” – as in, she is STILL active and vibrant – is condescending and demeaning.“Translation,” writes Kavan, “you need to still be able to do stuff to matter when you’re old.”If you can’t do stuff anymore, Oprah apparently does not see your or anyone else’s worth.Now that she’s getting up there in years (57), Oprah may eventually make some progress in understanding growing old and with the appropriate attitude could even undo some of the damage she has done to elders promoting the likes of Somers and Oz. We will have to wait and see.Meanwhile, Kavan pretty much nailed what I would have written so you should go read his piece.At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine – May Sarton: A Personal Remembrance Related PostsReader Comment: Give Oprah CreditI am writing because I read your recent ChangingAging blog post about Oprah Winfrey, and I have to say I believe you are being too hard on her.Better Late Than Never Oprah, I GuessOprah is trying to change her tune on aging but she’s a day late and an apology short. In a much-touted video on Huffington Post Oprah extols the “blessings” of aging, but if you listen and look carefully her monologue is laced with anti-aging bias.Oh No Oprah!For those who wondered why I was never invited to discuss pro-aging with television host Oprah Winfrey, here is your answer…. The anti-aging issue of O, The Oprah Magazine is on newsstands now.  O Magazine unveils The NEW Science of Aging for our minds and bodies, along with tips from…TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Ageism ChangingAging oprahlast_img read more

New tool predicts the lifetime risk of Alzheimers

first_imgBy Sally Robertson, B.Sc.May 22 2018A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health has shown that the lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease significantly varies depending on age, gender and the presence of any signs or symptoms of dementia.Image Credit: Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock.comThe study authors say this is the first time that lifetime risk estimates have taken into consideration the biological changes that occur in the brain up to 20 years before the actual symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease dementia develop.These early changes are referred to as preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, a designation that is currently only used by researchers until further evidence is produced to determine whether it can be used to predict whether dementia symptoms will develop.After assessing the existing scientific literature, which included some of the largest longitudinal studies available, Ron Brookmeyer (UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles) and colleagues developed a computerized mathematical model that could determine the likelihood of people progressing in the continuum of the disease.The results were recently published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.One example from the study showed that a man aged 70 years who has amyloid plaques, but no signs of neurodegeneration or memory loss, is at a 19.9% lifetime risk of developing clinical symptoms of the disease.However, if he also has neurodegeneration, the risk rises to 31.3% and if mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is also present, the risk is increased to 86%. He adds that the high mortality rates in elderly populations are also an important factor, since these individuals are likely to die of other causes.For example, a 90-year-old female who has amyloid plaques has an 8.4% lifetime risk of developing clinical symptoms, whereas a 65-year-old female with the plaques has a lifetime risk of 29.3%. The lower risk for the female aged 90 is explained by her shorter life expectancy.For the same 65-year-old female with amyloid plaques, the 10-year risk of disease symptoms is 2.5%. Females tend to have higher lifetime risk compared with men because they live for longer.Brookmeyer says the lifetime and 10-year risks serve as indicators of the likelihood a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease dementia based on their age and screenings for amyloid deposits, neurodegeneration and the presence or absence of MCI or any combination of those three.Among both men and women, a combination of all three is associated with the greatest risk of developing symptoms. What we found in this research is that people with preclinical Alzheimer’s disease dementia may never experience any clinical symptoms during their lifetimes because of its long and variable preclinical period.”Ron Brookmeyer, UCLA School of Public Health Just as there are risk predictors for whether you might have a heart attack, it will be important in the future to measure the likelihood that someone will develop Alzheimer’s disease. For example, those people with the highest 10-year risk of getting Alzheimer’s dementia would be high priority to volunteer for clinical trials evaluating Alzheimer’s medications or other therapies.”Mario Carrillo, Chief Scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Association Source:https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/aa-mel051818.phplast_img read more

Researchers uncover racial differences in debilitating itchy skin condition

first_imgJun 14 2018An international team led by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers has conducted what is believed to be the largest detailed published study of people with a poorly understood skin condition known as prurigo nodularis (PN). Such studies collect information on a whole subset of people at once and at a particular point in time.Results of their analysis were highlighted in an oral presentation at the International Investigative Dermatology Conference in May 2018 and were published on May 4 by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Their results provide some of the first published reliable information from a racially diverse population about who likely develops this chronic disease, which is characterized by intensely itchy nodules that develop on the arms and legs that can generalize throughout the body.The prevalence of PN remains unknown as the condition has been understudied compared with other inflammatory skin diseases, and its origins, causes and treatment are still largely unexplored. However, says study leader Shawn Kwatra, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, PN’s impact is significant.”These are patients whose lives have been devastated by an unbearable, persistent itch that dramatically reduces quality of life on par with the most severe diseases treated by our specialty,” he says.Besides the immense discomfort from itching and scratching, Kwatra explains, PN interferes with sleep and affects social interactions with people who may be (needlessly) afraid of contracting this noninfectious disease. Despite its severe impact, he adds, PN has been largely ignored by scientists.To learn more about it, he and his colleagues conducted a detailed study of data from 909 adults with PN over a five-year period. There were 475 females and 434 males. Of the participants, nearly half were African American, about 42% were white, and about 3% were Asian.In addition to demographic information, the investigators extracted details of the patient group’s comorbidities, or other medical problems these patients had at the same time as PN. The majority of patients, nearly half, were between 51 and 65 years old. The findings also suggest that the condition disproportionately affects African-Americans between ages 50 and 65 as compared with the general population.Related StoriesHair loss could soon be a thing of the past, say researchersLoose double-stranded RNA molecules spur skin rejuvenationScientists develop accurate, wearable voice recognition devicePN was more prevalent in African-Americans, but not whites, with HIV infection. African-Americans with PN in the patient group were 10.5 times more likely to have HIV than race-matched controls with atopic dermatitis and eight times more likely to have HIV than African-American patients with psoriasis who were treated during this time period.PN patients were also 2.8, 4.7 and 9.9 times more likely to have diabetes, chronic kidney disease and hepatitis C than patients with atopic dermatitis, respectively. Further, patients with PN were nearly three times more likely to have clinical depression compared with patients with atopic dermatitis and 2.4 times more likely to have depression than patients with psoriasis.The team suggests their information may be used not only in the clinical care of PN patients, but forms a basis for ongoing translational studies to develop novel treatments for the disorder, which has no FDA-approved therapy or consistently effective treatment.Kwatra cautions that such associations do not demonstrate that PN causes these disorders, or vice versa. More research will be necessary to tease out whether and why these various conditions are linked, he says, which could eventually lead to a better understanding of the mechanism of PN and better targeted treatments.However, he adds, knowing the connections between PN and various health conditions could lead physicians to give patients more thorough evaluations to check for other conditions once they’re diagnosed with PN.Current systemic treatments for PN include phototherapy, neuroactive agents such as gabapentin and pregabalin, and systemic immunosuppressants such as methotrexate and cyclosporine. As PN is associated with dermatologic conditions such as atopic dermatitis in African-Americans, as well as many systemic conditions, further study is needed to determine the exact prevalence.Source: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/racial_differences_uncovered_in_debilitating_itchy_skin_conditionlast_img read more

Researchers aim to investigate what makes some individuals to keep going in

first_imgJul 23 2018The ability to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ could explain why some people suffer less depression and anxiety when faced with adversity, research has discovered.Now researchers from the University of Leicester and De Montfort University aim to investigate further what attributes enable individuals to simply ‘keep going’ in the way they do after an incident.The researchers are specifically investigating the impact of cybercrime and levels of ‘resistance’ to such crimes.They identified that certain individuals had a particular type of resilience – which they described as ecological resistance – that was related to both lower levels of depression and anxiety feelings around an incident of cybercrime.The researchers said: “Ecological resilience is the ability to absorb disturbance or stress, and reorganize one’s life whilst undergoing this disturbance or stress, and keep focussed on everyday life to essentially retain and perform the same functions in life. Respondents who score high on assessment of this type of resilience agree with statements such as “I always give all I can, regardless of what may happen” and “No matter what happens, I find ways to get things done”.”The study is being led by Professor John Maltby from the University of Leicester and Sally Chivers from the University of Leicester and De Montfort University.Professor Maltby said: “This is a potentially exciting finding, as it points to the possible psychological resilience mechanism that helps some individualsdeal with being a victim of cyber fraud. This is important because it could provide the basis of work to help victims of cybercrime.”To investigate this further, the researchers are inviting victims of cyber fraud to take part in a survey: www.fraudsurvey.netSally Chivers said: “We don’t know what individuals are doing that gives them the ability to keep functioning, to find out what it is people do to just keep going in the way after a fraud incident. Therefore, we are launching a nationwide survey to see if we can identify the things that people do to remain strong-willed and manage to get things done after being a victim of fraud.”Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapySocial media use and television viewing linked to rise in adolescent depressive symptomsFor the year ending December 2017 the Crime Survey for England & Wales (CSEW) shows 3.2 million fraud offences. Over half of those fraud incidents were cyber-related(56% or 1.8 million incidents). These figures are based on the results of public surveys.Formally recorded crime for the same year ending December 2017 shows 639,437 offences of fraud; these cases are recorded by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) including offences reported to Action Fraud.The offences reported to Action Fraud showed increases in “advance fee payment fraud” (up 32% to 52,469 offences) and “consumer and retail fraud” (up 4% to 105,921 offences).As part of a wider survey of over 1800 USA respondents, 185 (10.1%) reported they had been a victim of financial fraud at least once within the previous year. When choosing the most serious (in terms of money lost), of the 185, 34.1% had had their card or account details stolen, 22.2% were victims of phishing, 20.0% were victims of hacking, 17.3% were victims of an advance fee scam, and 6.5% claimed they were victims of blackmail. 49.2% of the sample reported the value of money stolen was between $1 to $100, however 8.1% of the sample reported losing sums of over $2000.Sally Chivers added: “There is so much we don’t know. We don’t know for example how this translates to the UK. We’d like anyone who has been a victim of cyber fraud to take part in a survey. We don’t mind whether you formally recorded or reported the incident at the time; we’re interested in your views either way.”Source: https://le.ac.uklast_img read more

Prenatal Tdap vaccination not linked with increased risk of autism in children

first_imgAug 13 2018A Kaiser Permanente study of more than 80,000 children born over a 4-year period showed that the prenatal Tdap vaccination (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) was not associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children. The study was published today in Pediatrics.”Infants are at the highest risk of hospitalization and death among any population subgroup after contracting a pertussis infection, a highly contagious respiratory disease also known as the whooping cough,” said Tracy A. Becerra-Culqui, PhD, a post-doctoral research fellow with Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Department of Research & Evaluation and lead author of the study. “With waning immunity against pertussis in the United States, it has become very important for pregnant women to be immunized against pertussis. It is an immunity they pass on to their unborn baby.””Pregnant women can be reassured by this study that there is no indication of an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children after being exposed prenatally to the Tdap vaccine,” Becerra-Culqui added.The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which provides guidance on the use of vaccines for the United States, recommends pregnant women receive the Tdap vaccine to prevent pertussis infection, but some women still hesitate.Kaiser Permanente researchers were able to comprehensively study the hypothesized link between Tdap and autism because of the organization’s large and diverse patient population. In Southern California, Kaiser Permanente provides health care in 15 hospitals and about 220 medical offices to approximately 4.4 million members who are broadly representative of the area’s population. Recommended vaccinations are free to all members.Related StoriesNeuroscientists find anatomical link between cognitive and perceptual symptoms in autismTransgender and non-binary individuals more likely to display autistic traits, study findsTransgenerational BPA exposure may contribute to autism, study findsThis retrospective cohort study looked at the autism diagnosis for children born at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern California between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014.The study included 81,993 children and found that: “The link between vaccination and development of autism has been refuted by many rigorous scientific investigations. Unfortunately, the misconceptions still generate concerns,” said the paper’s senior author, Hung Fu Tseng, PhD, of the Department of Research & Evaluation.”Given the increasing practice to vaccinate pregnant women with Tdap vaccine, it was important to address the concern of a link between maternal vaccination and subsequent development of autism spectrum disorder in children,” he added. “We hope that our findings reassure parents that Tdap vaccination during pregnancy was not associated with autism in children.” Source:https://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/tdap-vaccination-for-pregnant-women-does-not-increase-risk-of-autism-kaiser-permanente-study-finds/center_img Prenatal Tdap vaccination coverage ranged from 26 percent for the 2012 birth cohort to 79 percent for the 2014 birth cohort. The autism spectrum disorder incidence rate in children was 1.5 percent in the maternal Tdap vaccinated group and 1.8 percent in the maternal unvaccinated group, comparable to autism rates in the United States (1.7 percent). Analyses of the data extracted from electronic health records showed that Tdap vaccination during pregnancy was not associated with increased autism spectrum disorder risk in children. Results were consistent across study birth years and among first-born children.last_img read more

Keck Medicine of USCs hospitals ranked among nations best for the 10th

first_imgAug 14 2018For the 10th consecutive year, Keck Medicine of USC’s hospitals have been ranked among the country’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. The annual rankings encompass overall patient care and specialized treatment areas ranging from cancer to urology. This year, Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital, was ranked among the top 50 nationwide in nine specialties as well as the top three in metro Los Angeles and the top seven in California.Related StoriesChaos in the house and asthma in children – the connectionDon’t ignore diastolic blood pressure values, say researchersMosquito surveillance in Madagascar reveals new insight into malaria transmissionAt No. 9, urology was the medical center’s highest-ranked specialty. Cancer was ranked No. 17, making it the highest-ranked cancer specialty in Southern California.Seven service lines -; ophthalmology (No. 12), geriatrics (No. 17), orthopaedics (No. 22), neurology and neurosurgery (No. 26), gynecology (No. 35), nephrology (No. 35, in a three-way tie) and cardiology and heart surgery (No. 45) -; also placed in the nation’s top 50.”This year’s U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings reflect Keck Medicine of USC’s steady ascension to being one of the top academic medical centers in the country,” says Tom Jackiewicz, CEO of Keck Medicine of USC. “Our world-class physicians, nurses, researchers and staff, who are deeply committed to delivering exceptional patient-centered care, are at the heart of our continuing success.”For this year’s rankings, U.S. News evaluated more than 4,500 medical centers nationwide. In the 16 specialty areas, only 158 hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty. The methodology for the rankings included several care-related indicators, including risk-adjusted mortality, volume, patient safety and quality of nursing care. Best Hospital rankings are produced by U.S. News with RTI International, a research firm based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.The 2018–2019 Best Hospitals rankings are available at health.usnews.com/best-hospitals and will appear in the forthcoming U.S. News Best Hospitals 2019 guidebook. Source:https://keck.usc.edulast_img read more

Announcing … The 2014 Dance Your PhD Contest

The dreaded question. “So, what’s your Ph.D. research about?” You take a deep breath and launch into the explanation. People’s eyes begin to glaze over …At times like these, don’t you wish you could just turn to the nearest computer and show people a video of your Ph.D. thesis interpreted in dance form?Now you can! And while you’re at it, you can win $1000 and a free trip to California, achieve immortal geek fame on the Internet, and be recognized by Science for your effort. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) This is the 7th year of the contest sponsored by AAAS and Science, which challenges you to explain your Ph.D. research without PowerPoint or jargon—in fact with no talking at all. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your Ph.D. or you completed it decades ago.It’s not as hard as it sounds. Take a look at the Ph.D. dance of Cedric Tan, who created a dance video based on his University of Oxford Ph.D. thesis about sperm competition:As in previous years, this is a dance-off between the major branches of science (very loosely defined): physics, chemistry, biology, and social sciences. The winner of each branch gets $500. If your Ph.D. is the best overall, you get an additional $500 and a free trip to Stanford University in spring 2015 (travel and hotel covered by HighWire Press) to screen your Ph.D. dance.The deadline for submission is 29 September 2014.To enter the contest, follow the instructions here.Good luck, scientists. We look forward to seeing you move! Email read more

Tiny sea creatures are making clouds over the Southern Ocean

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email The Southern Ocean is the cloudiest region on Earth, almost completely blanketed yearround. But the cause might be surprising: tiny marine organisms called phytoplankton, which live in the ocean’s stormy waters. A new study has measured how particles and gases emitted by these creatures enter the atmosphere and become the seeds of clouds. The study represents the first large-scale correlation between biological activity in the Southern Ocean and cloud formation. Establishing that link is an important first step toward understanding a longstanding question in climate modeling: the role of clouds and tiny air particles called aerosols in global climate change. Clouds and aerosols are two of the great wild cards in climate models, and divining their impact on climate is even more complex when it comes to how they interact with each other. Soot is one type of aerosol produced by human activities, but there are also natural aerosols—sea spray, sulfate, or ammonium salts—in the atmosphere. These particles all form the “seeds” around which water vapor condenses and forms tiny droplets that turn into clouds. Daniel McCoy center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Diagram of the proposed linkage between clouds and biological activity in the Southern Ocean, including potential sources of cloud condensation nuclei (dimethyl sulfide, sea spray, sea salt). The dimethyl sulfide transforms into sulfate in the atmosphere; sulfate aerosols can also be produced by both volcanoes and human activities. Clouds can play a key role in climate—but a complicated one. Low-lying clouds tend to cool the planet by acting as reflectors that bounce solar radiation back into space, whereas higher clouds can actually trap heat and enhance warming. In the Southern Ocean, climate models have been particularly poor at capturing clouds’ influence, by tending to estimate less reflected radiation than actually exists. To improve these models, scientists will need to understand more about cloud-forming aerosols and how they have altered climate over the past 200 years. But that’s difficult to track without knowing how many “natural” aerosols were in the atmosphere prior to industrialization.That matters because climate sensitivity to greenhouse gas inputs depends, in part, on aerosol concentrations, says Susannah Burrows, an atmospheric scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, and a co-author of the new study. “If you had a higher preindustrial concentration of aerosols, then human perturbations to aerosols would have a smaller impact.”That’s where the Southern Ocean comes in. In addition to being the cloudiest place on Earth, it’s also one of the cleanest, relatively untouched by human activity. That makes it “a fantastic laboratory for looking at aerosol-cloud interactions,” says Greg McFarquhar, a cloud physicist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who was not involved in the new study.Scientists have postulated that marine organisms are a significant natural source of atmospheric aerosols for decades, but few studies have tried to quantify this. So atmospheric scientist Daniel McCoy of the University of Washington in Seattle, along with Burrows and other colleagues, turned to satellite data. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite has data on cloud droplets in the atmosphere over a broad swath of the northern Southern Ocean from 35° south to 55° south. The researchers compared these data with the region’s concentrations of chlorophyll a, a type of chlorophyll that often serves as a proxy for biological activity within the oceans.What they found was an unambiguous link between patches of ocean with high biological activity and cloudiness. On average, the  ocean life boosts the number of cloud droplets by about 60% annually, the team reports online today in Science Advances. In summer, the effect is strongest—cloud formation is likely doubled as the phytoplankton kick into high gear. The potential to reflect energy back into space is also strongest in summer, as more bright reflective clouds form right when the incoming radiation is also strongest, McCoy says. That ultimately translates into additional reflected solar radiation of about 10 watts per square meter—comparable to the amount of reflected energy in the northern hemisphere due to heavy pollution.The team also sought to understand more about the underlying mechanisms by which phytoplankton helps form clouds. “There are at least two ways in which phytoplankton can affect aerosols in the atmosphere,” Burrows says. One is through the emission of dimethyl sulfide gas by phytoplankton. In the atmosphere, that gas is chemically transformed to sulfate, a highly efficient cloud condensation nucleus. The second way is through sea spray: Organic matter in the ocean collects on the skins of tiny bubbles in surface waves; when the waters churn sea spray into the atmosphere, they also send up these loaded bubbles, which also serve as cloud condensation nuclei. The researchers found that from 35° south to 45° south, water droplets formed mainly due to sulfate aerosols, whereas further south, in the 45° to 55° swath of ocean, organic matter in the sea spray was the primary source of cloud seeds.These findings are an important first step, McFarquhar says: “This paper has done a great job in documenting the seasonal and spatial correlations” and in demonstrating that both sulfate aerosols and organic matter are important to cloud formation in the Southern Ocean. But, he adds, we now need to understand why. To do a better job and improve the climate models, scientists simply need more direct observations of the aerosols’ physical and chemical properties as well as those of the clouds themselves, he says.An effort is afoot to collect such data in the Southern Ocean—an international project called SOCRATES (Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experimental Study), on which McFarquhar is a member of the planning team. The project is currently seeking funding from the National Science Foundation. Data such as these will be essential, he says, to get a more detailed picture of the mechanisms of cloud formation. “Ultimately, that’s the only way to represent aerosol-cloud interactions in models.”last_img read more